Toronto Blue Jays Need to Make Changes for Next Season

By Christopher Renshall
Mark Buehrle
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays need to improve their pitching staff if they are going to be a playoff team next season. On paper, there is plenty of talent in the Blue Jays’ pitching depth chart, however, most of the talent has failed to show for the 2013 season. Based on player’s contract situations, a weak free agent market and most of the Blue Jays tradable assets already having been traded away, where will this team go to improve their pitching staff?

R.A. Dickey has the top spot in the rotation locked up for next season. The Blue Jays are not going to give up on him that fast, but Dickey’s stats are troubling. His fly ball rate has increased every year since 2010. In a stadium like Rogers Centre, fly balls are going to leave that park, as evidenced by the number of home runs Dickey has given up this season.

Mark Buehrle has demonstrated that he can be a reliable second starter. After a rough start to the season, he has turned things around with a recent string of good starts and has started to build his total innings thrown. He may not be a staff ace anymore, but he is a solid starter that brings quality pitching to the ballpark.

After Dickey and Buehrle, there are a lot of arms, but not a lot of certainty as to what those arms have to offer. Unfortunately, Josh Johnson has been awful for the Blue Jays and I would be surprised if he is on the team next season. Brandon Morrow has been injured every year and if he is able to join the rotation at the start of the season, how long will he be able to play until his next injury?

J.A. Happ should be able to rejoin the staff for next season and before his scary injury, he was the best pitcher for the Blue Jays at the start of the 2013 season. It is reasonable to expect Happ to bring a third stable arm to the Blue Jays rotation next season

After Dickey, Buehrle and Happ, who knows what the Blue Jays will do. The free agent market is not what I would call spectacular. The top end players are not exactly a fit for the Blue Jays in terms of spots available and payroll available. Not to mention, after Blue Jays’ ownership just spent a large sum of cash to get this year’s underperforming talent in house, will they be willing to open up the coin purse again to get more high-priced talent?

I would like to believe that the current pitching staff problems couldn’t continue for two entire seasons. The law of averages says that the Blue Jays’ pitchers have to be better next year. The uncertainty is just how the Blue Jays’ front office will handle making this pitching staff better with the pieces they already have in the organization.

Christopher Renshall is a Blue Jays writer for Follow him on Twitter @CRenshall, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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